Personal Injury Litigation
Most of Steve’s 35 years of practice have involved Personal Injury litigation. Steve began doing this kind of work in his first position with Vargas and Bartlett in 1980, defending automobile accident cases for firm clients California State Automobile Association (CSAA), Southern California Automobile Association (SCAAA) and State Farm, as well as premises liability personal injury slip and fall cases for firm clients Harrah’s, Maryland Casualty, and Industrial Indemnity all under the supervision of George Vargas and James Logan. Steve continued doing this kind of work when he went to work for Beckley, Singleton, Delanoy, Jemison and List in 1987 where he worked for firm clients CSAA, SCAA, United States Automobile Association and Wal-Mart under the supervision of J. Mitchell Cobeaga and Drake Delanoy. During this time Steve developed extensive experience with defending uninsured motorist claims and insurance coverage and was selected as an instructor for a Nevada State Bar seminar on Uninsured Motorist Law . During this time period Steve also handled and took to trial numerous slip and fall cases for Wal-Mart who had been targeted by the plaintiff’s bar. As Steve’s experience grew he also taught seminars on Preparing and Handling the Personal Injury Case. Also during this time Steve was involved in very, very serious bet-the-company cases where the clients hired social science researchers to survey community attitudes, conduct focus groups and mock juries. One of these cases involved retaining Donald Vincent, founder of Litigation Sciences, and a pioneer in applying social science research to case presentation and jury selection. Steve has been involved in 5 cases where social science research has been used to help present a case, including presenting and watching a jury’s reaction and adjusting the case accordingly as preparation for trial. This was particularly valuable experience and insight for a trial lawyer.
The key to successful personal injury litigation is knowing every factual small detail and using those facts to tell the client’s story, preserving the clients credibility, attacking the opponent’s credibility including a full investigation of their background and inconsistent or contradictory statements and locating and using the best expert witnesses. After 35 years of doing this kind of work Steve has learned what experts are best for a particular type of case. Steve has used and worked with many experts and therefore has available articulate, persuasive, local orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, ophthalmologists, otolaryngologists, chiropractors, accident reconstruction experts, biomechanical engineers who can assist with his cases. Finally Steve has taken many cases to jury trial. Nevada is a very large state and there are significant differences in Courts and jurors around this large state. Steve being a lifelong resident of Nevada with family throughout the state, knows the differences between jurors in different counties throughout Nevada and how best to pick the jury and how to present a case in a persuasive fashion to a Nevada Jury weather they are in Reno/Sparks, Las Vegas/Henderson, Carson City/Virginia City, Minden, Elko, Fallon, Winnemucca/Lovelock /Battle Mountain, Eureka/Ely/Pioche, Yerington/Fernley, or Hawthorn/Goldfield/Tonopah/Pahrump.